Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bakauke Five Cheese Sembei

The Bakauke brand seems to be exploding. I hadn't seen it in most markets when I started this blog, and now I'm seeing varieties of its banana-shaped rice crackers everywhere. This cheese flavor was at Seiyu supermarket and cost about $1.45 (about 140 yen), and it caught my eye amongst the see of fish and seaweed types.

Bakauke sembei has very good brand imagery and I think that's why it's catching on fast. Besides having a distinctive cracker shape, it also has a couple of distinctive mascots (as mentioned in my review of their wasabi sembei). Like many mascots for food products in Japan, they're rather crudely drawn and not really very attractive, but seem to help make the product more noticeable. For this particular bag of sembei, one of the little blurbs on the back mentions that every cracker packet inside has a mascot in a different get-up.

When I opened up the package, even before I breached one of the individual packets, I could smell the cheese powder used in these. The first whiff is highly reminiscent of Cheetos cheese puffs seasoning. The flavor is also rather similar, but these have more depth and variety to them. I'm guessing that's because of the five flavors of cheese that have been included - Edam, Swiss, cheddar, Camembert, and Gouda. You can detect the Swiss notes distinct from the cheddar in particular.

These are nicely cheesy, but not extreme. They have a bit of the typical rice cracker flavor, but not the heavily cooked flavor with soy that you sometimes get. The crackers are crisp and fresh and only about 45 calories per packet of two. If you're not a big fan of sembei, these may be a good stepping stone for you to transition from the "light" stuff to the heavy stuff. They're not quite as accessible as the garlic butter sembei (which I would call the non-sembei-tasting rice cracker), but they're a good second.


anchan said...

I would definitely like these! Cheese and sembei in the same snack! Will look out for them - thanks!

april Marie - Girl Japan said...

Rice crackers are NICE indeed, I was remember when the first time I've ever had one kakinotane I was a child.. and my mother would get the trail mix.. do you remember those?

Orchid64 said...

My family were/are very conservative eaters. They never bought kaki no tane or any unfamiliar mixes. My memories are all of potato chips. ;-)

Cory Shallow said...

I intend to follow this blog and use it when I'm feeling more adventurous in chinatown. : )

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Cory and thanks for reading, and taking the time to comment.

I hope you find this interesting, if not useful.